Apple Could Sell 39M iPhones in Record June Quarter

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Apple Insider reports that Apple (NADAQ:AAPL) is on pace to sell 39 million iPhones in the current June quarter, according to data in Morgan Stanley’s AlphaWise smartphone tracker. The research, conducted by Apple analyst Katy Huberty using Web search analysis and Google Trends data, points to strong consumer demand for current models of the iPhone in spite of the much-rumored launch of the iPhone 6, expected to be released in the fall.

Sales of 39 million units in the June quarter would break Apple’s previous June quarter record of 31.2 million iPhones shipped in the June 2013 quarter. The AlphaWise estimate comes in above the 35 million-unit consensus estimate; the survey has been a strong indicator of iPhone demand over the past five quarters. Its predictions landed within 9 percent of actual sales in all of those quarters and below Apple’s actual sales in four of them.

As Forbes points out, sales of 39 million iPhones would represent an increase of 25 percent over last year’s June quarter versus only 17 percent year over year in the March quarter. Huberty reports that the strong demand among consumers is being driven by promotions, demonstrating that Apple may be poised to make the most of a quarter in which current iPhone users are both eagerly waiting news of the iPhone 6 and consistently seeing offers for upgrades and discounts.

Per MacRumors, customers are being tempted by good deals from all fronts — Apple, mobile carriers, and retailers — aimed at getting them to purchase a new iPhone 5s or 5c ahead of launch of the iPhone 6. Apple is offering credit toward an iPhone 5s or 5c to customers who trade in an older model, ranging from $99 for an iPhone 4 to $199 for an iPhone 4S. In May, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) also offered $200 in trade-in credit for customers
who upgraded to an iPhone 5s or 5c.

MacRumors recently reported that warehouse club chain Costco (NASDAQ:COST) will begin selling iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products. Just last week, 9to5Mac reported that Apple will offer prepaid and month-to-month plans at its own stores to boost full-price sales of the current iPhone models.

The new iPhone is widely expected to go on sale in September, a year after Apple launched the iPhone 5S, and sales are expected to fall from the 43.7 million iPhones sold in the quarter ended March because consumers will wait to purchase the new model of the device. Though Apple has yet to offer official word on the product it plans to launch, the widely anticipated release is rumored to be offered in multiple sizes, and MacRumors has reported on several alleged leaks highlighting two different models measuring 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. The new model will also likely ship with iOS 8, the operating system the company debuted at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Data included in the AlphaWise research also support analyst predictions that current iPhone owners will wait to upgrade until the iPhone 6 is launched. The Morgan Stanley survey shows that if Apple launches an iPhone with a larger display, the company will see many current iPhone users upgrading.

Apple is making the most of the uncertainty around exactly what the iPhone 6 will ship with, giving consumers in the market for a new iPhone the choice of upgrading to a 5s or 5c now, or waiting a few months to buy one of perhaps several models of the iPhone 6. Either way, sales are expected to show that demand for the iPhone is strong even as consumers wait to find out what’s next for the iPhone line.

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